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  1. Hello everybody, After a longer than expected period we are finally ready with the release of CT Football Manager version 0.8.0. The reason for the long period is that one of the two developers on th... View the full article
  2. There are many challenges to running a small independent game development company but one of the benefits is having a very tight and loyal community that we can rely on to help us succeed. One of the biggest ways our community does that is through what we call FirstAccess and we are very excited at the prospect of you joining our special community. FirstAccess is our process of beta testing our games before they are officially launched. Because we are small the only way to get sufficient numbers of testers prior to launch is to ask for the community to help us out. In return we offer a discount on the game, a complementary key on Steam and of course early access to the beta builds of the games. So what does that mean for you? It means that if you choose to participate in our FirstAccess process (which is completely voluntary, if you purchase just for the discount and wait until final launch that is totally ok too) we’re really counting on you to help play a vital role in the final production phase of the game. When we open the game to the public in this stage this is the beta portion of the game. It has gone through internal play testing but not nearly a large enough population of people to properly beta test the game. Playing during this stage of the game means that you are going to more than likely encounter bugs – some that may be minor or cosmetic – but possibly you could encounter something that is a significant issue that may even render you having to restart a new game file. So many people play in their own unique way or edit certain things – that is why it is so crucial for us to get many people involved in this process. We ask that you report these issues and we fix them up and constantly release new builds until the game is at the status of being ready for final release. What about suggestions? We are sure that while in playing you might come up with some great ideas and we definitely want to hear about them. If they are minor tweaks or changes there is a good possibility we can include those in an updated beta build as well so FirstAccess is not only a chance for you to help us make sure the game quality is where it needs to be for a final release but also to contribute your own ideas as well. We know that this process isn’t for everyone and as mentioned if you want to pre-order just as a means to get the discount and wait for the final release we certainly understand. To those though who do take this opportunity to help play such a crucial role in the game’s final development we thank you for not only your patience in testing the game at this stage but also for the extremely important role you are playing in supporting our company and making it possible for us to continue to succeed, grow and continue to provide you the highest levels of sports simulation gaming going forward. Thank you as always for your support and we look forward to having you as part of the team for FirstAccess. The post All About FirstAccess appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  3. Hockey Legacy Manager 21 is happy to return to its throne as the top mobile hockey management game on the market. Soon there will real name roster files and NHL mods created by the community. You are able to manage all aspects of your hockey team to create the ultimate legacy. Coaches, scouts, drafting, trading, contract negotiations, player development, all this will help you dominate the league for decades. HLM21 is an offline hockey manager. You can play whenever you want, wherever you want. No internet connection is required. Each career has its own storyline, as you follow the evolution of the entire league from declining contenders to rising superstars. You can keep track of the whole league record for all positions and teams, of every single draft class, of every player transaction and much more. Hockey Legacy Manager 21 is fully customizable from players and teams to coaches and leagues. HLM21 brings many new features to help you manage your hockey team to a deeper level such as: CUSTOM JERSEYS Each team has its own customizable jersey for a better immersion. INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS Every year, 10 countries compete in a World Cup and a World Juniors! EXPANSION DRAFT Start a career with a 32nd hockey team. ROSTER SHARING Share your rosters with the community or download existing user-generated content! PLAYER FACES Realistic faces generated by an AI! COACHES Manage your coaching staff by hiring the right candidates! MINOR LEAGUE Manage as deep as your minor league! The perfect environment for developing your prospects! AND MUCH MORE! Trade block Salary retention Franchise records Mid-season contract extension Challenges Retired jerseys Power ranking With Hockey Legacy Manager PRO you can play for decades and even centuries. Come have a conversation with us on reddit about HLM21… The post Hockey Legacy Manager 21 is out now and playable on iOS or Android appeared first on GM Games - Sports General Manager Video Games. View the full article
  4. A new season of NFL football is upon us and with that comes the FirstAccess of Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 (DDSPF21). GM Games plans to put out a thorough review this month from our own legend Grant Piper. Let’s share with you some of the core elements of the game and what’s new in this years experience? Franchise Mode Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 combines a realistic and deep franchise mode with a beautiful interface to give you the football simulation experience you many have are looking for. You Are In Control Make trades, sign free agents, customize your gameplan and playbooks down to the finest details including creating your own plays and when it’s gameday you can call your own plays and watch the action unfold as the physics based game engine shows you the action in fun and exciting 2D gameplay. Don’t want to do it all? Hand over some of the responsibilities to the AI and only control what you want to. Improved 2D Gameplay Build Your Dynasty Choose your favorite franchise and get ready to lead them to the promised land. Play season after season in this career based simulation. Every season brings new challenges with salary demands, drafting new players and player personalities. Marvel at the achievements in the historical archives so you can relive the excitement of past seasons. There’s nothing else that puts you in your own game universe like Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021. The draft is HERE! What’s New in DDSPF21 ? DDS:PF21 is totally rebuilt from the ground up on our new “Au” platform giving the user an incredibly beautiful and easy to navigate interface. Social types, multiple player traits, player mentoring options and player storylines give players a true life quality. You’ll feel like you’re managing real athletes – not just looking at numbers on a screen! New performance grades let you see quickly how players are performing and at what point in the season they are earning improvement bonuses in their ratings. Customization options have improved even more! Edit more details on coaches, hall of fame configuration options, multiple playoff options and new data export capabilities for you to analyze data your own way. The game engine has received multiple improvements as well. New play design options allow for motion and play action plays, revamped depth options allow for designation of third down backs, a total revamp of the penalty system to allow you control over accepting penalties in 2D play as well as AI improvements for penalties and 4th down logic. Use coupon code PF21FIRST at checkout and you will save 10% when you pre-order. This offer is only good during the pre-order stage so get your copy today! Leave a comment about DDSPF21 on our sub-reddit… The post It’s here! FirstAccess for DDS: Pro Football 2021 launches September 1st appeared first on GM Games - Sports General Manager Video Games. View the full article
  5. If you have been craving a football game that puts the emphasis on a rich, featured-full franchise mode then today is the day you have been waiting for! Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 is ready for FirstAccess. If you are new to our company FirstAccess is the period here prior to the official launch of a game title. We offer you the opportunity to purchase the game with a discount and in addition to that you are eligible for a complementary Steam key when the game launches there. Best of all you receive your license key right away with a download link to be able to download beta builds of the game so you can test along with us as we finish up the game. Pre-Order DDS: Pro Football 2021 Now! So what makes our football game different than others you might have played? We’ve taken the efforts to make a beautiful and very intuitive user interface thanks to our “Au” platform proving you don’t have to sacrifice looks just because you are dealing heavy in numbers. Beyond the fantastic interface you will find a game world that is deep and immersive. The redone draft wows you with an introduction that gets you hyped for the draft and then an in-game draft presentation that provides running commentary and updates on team needs, best players available’s like nothing you have ever experienced in any other football game. The immersion isn’t just in the presentation though – all new player traits, mentoring options and player storylines bring these players to life in new ways. In some football games your success lies in simply grabbing the highest rated players while in others it all depends on your hand-eye coordination and button mashing skills. In DDS:PF21 you build a team – a team of players that feel real, that interact in a real way and that you have to manage to find the right fits for your scheme and your locker room. If you truly want the experience of managing a pro football team nothing will get you closer. We did not stop there with the improvements this year though. There are now more play design options to allow for motion and play action plays. A revamped depth system allows for third down backs and better control over who is on the field. The penalty system has been totally revamped to give you control in the 2D games and make the AI smarter in handling them. The AI has also received upgrades to its game management logic including areas like 4th down logic to give you an even more realistic challenge. In addition to those things there are a host of other new features and improvements making their way into this year’s football game. Things like new performance grades for players or more customization options like editing more coach details, hall of fame thresholds and multiple playoff options. Want more data? We’ve got that too including an option to export data so that you can analyze it any way you like. Want to experience a full football universe? Create a league in Draft Day Sports: College Football and link it with your pro game to bring in rookie classes and track news and data from your college universe without ever leaving the pro game! We know that if you are a hardcore football fan you’ve been waiting for a football game that puts this kind of emphasis on franchise mode. Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 is the deepest and most immersive game world you’re going to find for a football game today. Pre-order your copy today and get ready to #BuildYourDynasty with a franchise mode like you have never experienced before. Pre-Order Now! The post Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 FirstAccess Begins Today! appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  6. Hello Everybody, We are now ready with the release of CT Football Manager version 0.74. In this version we have focused on optimizing the scheduling. This means that we have implemented and updated th... View the full article
  7. Tim Moungey Wolverine Studios Community Manager We conclude our series on text sim dynasties today with a FAQ and discussion on common issues that come up in the process of creating your work. The focus will be on written dynasties, as the area I’m most qualified to give expert advice. If you missed the first two parts of the series you can view part 1 here and part 2 here. What if I get writer’s block? This is common for even professional writers, so don’t fret if it happens to you. As I’ve explained to my students when lecturing on this topic, what’s happening in this case is that your brain is stuck and can’t find the mechanism to get past the mental obstacle. So what you need is to reset your brain and shift it in another direction. When I get writer’s block, the very first thing I do is step away from the computer. You can not force yourself out of a writer’s block, and staring at the screen will not magically conjure up a solution. So do something else. What I often do is either go listen to music or read something. For me, reading is usually literary fiction – Haruki Murakami in particular is excellent for this, as we share similarities in writing style and affinity for first person. In terms of music, I listen to whatever genre most fits the mood of what I’m trying to write. Heavy action? Something with a fierce beat that gets me amped up, such as Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name” or Isle of Q’s “Little Scene”. If it’s a contemplative piece, songs like The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” or pretty much anything by Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, and Carly Rae Jepsen (even though they have a lot of peppy numbers. There’s something about sugary pop that works with me). Analytical piece? Weirdly enough, rap – whether it’s Bone Thugs N Harmony, Notorious B.I.G., or Snoop Dogg. The point is, figure out what works for you. Maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s music. It might be another video game (heresy, I know) or watching a TV episode on your favorite streaming service. I’m bored with my dynasty. It happens. There’s a few ways of addressing boredom, but the first thing you need to do is figure out why it’s boring you. Tired of the journalistic/history book? Try switching to gameplay? Gameplay got you down? See if there’s a cool story about a player or another team in the league to talk about. The point is, shifting the angle and even the dynasty type can refresh things and bring new excitement into your discussion. If the issue is you keep winning all the time, quit your current in-game job and take up a fresh challenge – whether it’s the worst team in the pro games or leaving that hegemon you’ve built up in college for a difficult, down-on-its-luck small school in a region with a poor talent pool or a lot of competition. Conversely, if things are proving too challenging, consider switching to an easier in-game situation where success will come more readily. Nobody is commenting, even if I ask questions to try and get feedback. Some places you post a dynasty will be more active than others. One thing you can consider doing is cross-posting to more than one venue, if it’s allowed on each place you post. I do this by default, by the way, with two or three favorite forums to post in. You also might want to take a look at your dynasty and ask yourself, “If this wasn’t about my team and my game, would I be interested in this and keep reading?”. If the answer is no, then figure out why it doesn’t interest you and see what adjustments you can implement to make it more engaging. Help! I keep abandoning dynasties and starting new ones because I have new ideas all the time! Ah, yes. The ADD version of dynasty writing. First, as you get new ideas, write them down somewhere and keep a list handy rather than act on them right away. In my professional copywriting work, where many of my clients hire me for repeating projects, I build a topics list. This accomplishes two things – I write down ideas immediately, rather than forget about them a few weeks later, and when I’m tapped dry for inspiration, I have the list to go back to. That’s how you handle the new ideas aspect of this issue. The other problem – the serial abandonment – has nothing to do with ideas at all. It’s that you haven’t developed writing discipline. Many of my artist friends comment about the same issue in their field – they start a project, get distracted by a new idea, and don’t finish the piece they initially started working on. The solution here is to, as I mentioned last time, set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Make yourself keep that writing routine. It’s one of the biggest reasons why, in teaching, I always had students write weekly journals. It teaches writing routine and discipline (among other benefits). In fact, it works so well, quite a few continue journaling even after the semester is over. Same basic principle with your dynasty writing schedule. I think I’m a terrible writer/streamer and don’t know how to get better. One thing to keep in mind – everyone is bad when they start, even when they’re naturally talented. In fact, a few months ago, I looked back at one of my earliest dynasties and the cringe was real. In each post, I spotted like 20 different items that needed revision or opportunities to make it much better. So embrace the suck. The best way to get better is to keep writing. Another path to pursue – read the work of people whose dynasties you think are really great. But don’t read them for enjoyment. Instead, read them with a writing craft eye in mind. How are their posts structured? How do they move from point to point, and how do they develop each topic or scene? What are their techniques for using dialogue (if applicable)? This can even get down to granular things like their sentence lengths and word choices. For streamers, I admittedly would be awful at this. But the same basic principle applies. Look at successful ones and see what they’re doing that’s working well. What’s even better is if you can go back to their earliest streams and then watch their videos in order to see how they progress from their own difficult start to now. Also think about asking creators (whether streaming or written) about how they got started. What problems did they encounter? How did they solve those problems and get better at their craft? Most people will be willing to help if you just ask. That concludes our dynasty series. I hope you’ve found it helpful or inspiring. If you’re feeling the urge to play a game and start your own dynasty, check out our free game demos here. Or, if you already own the game you want to play, start a thread on our dynasty forums. I look forward to reading about your adventures. The post Share Your Dynasty – Part 3 appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  8. Tim Moungey Wolverine Studios Community Manager We continue our dynasty writing advice series this week. Last time, I discussed the most common mistakes that beginning dynasty writers make. Today I’ll be talking about how you get started with writing a text sports sim dynasty/AAR. Decide what type of dynasty it’s going to be You might think the most important decision is what team you’re going to play as and write about. It’s not – in fact, that’s actually one of the least important choices you’ll make. Rather, it’s choosing the type of dynasty that will inform everything else. Generally speaking, there’s four main types of dynasties/AARs GAMEPLAY This is the most common one. You play the game, report the results, and talk about what decisions you’re making and the strategies you pursue. This is exclusively first-person (I), with you as the narrator. Every streaming dynasty falls into this category, though some might combine elements of later type. In many ways, this is also the easiest one to write. You don’t have to think about characters, there’s no need to be concerned with how the story is progressing – you simply just write down your thoughts, commentary, and how the game is going. What appeals to readers about gameplay dynasties/AARs is seeing the mechanics of the game and witnessing the thought process of the decisions you’re weighing – for example, do I keep my star PF and SG together, or do I trade the PF for an older elite C and draft picks that can be used to both win now and have the assets to try and lengthen my window? NARRATIVE The second most frequent dynasty/AAR type is narrative. Here, you’re telling a story built around a cast of characters in the game universe and the events that happen while you play. This can be any point of view – although first and third will appear the most often. Here, you have the greatest freedom in terms of structure. For example, many of my dynasties/AARs over the years have used a framing narrative that surrounds the game’s story, which ends up giving readers two main stories to follow – the framing narrative and the one within the actual game itself. Sometimes, they even get more interested in the framing narrative than the game’s! Another example: Tiger Fan’s excellent OOTP narrative dynasty set in the late 1800s/early 1900s that makes heavy use of the epistolary device (i.e. telling the story in letters). As you might guess, readers are most interested in the characters and story with a narrative dynasty/AAR. The game results and the strategy take a back seat to the drama (or comedy) that’s playing out in the writing. HISTORICAL / JOURNALISTIC With a historical/journalistic approach, you’re playing the game and reporting the results without discussion of your decision-making and strategy options. You’re also not putting a spotlight on the story or characters, because they’ll emerge through your reporting. Examples of this include the History Book genre of AARs of Paradox Interactive games and the newspaper articles that Point Guard uses in many of his Draft Day Sports: College Basketball dynasties (note: he uses a blend of narrative and journalistic, so it’s possible to combine genres). For fans of this genre, it’s the feeling you get of reading a really well-written textbook, reading a newspaper, or following along with your favorite blog. The story develops organically and you become invested in tracking the results – cheering for a team or player, or getting mad when it’s suddenly reported that the team’s star QB has signed with a division rival. INTERACTIVE These dynasties are all about collaboration. It’s not just you who are the creator of this work – it’s the input of others. I’ve seen different takes on this – the most common for sports sims is having other people create players, inserting the players into the game, and reporting how their career develops – and if there’s choices to be made about an inserted player’s career – such as should the player demand a trade? – the decision is made by that player’s creator, not you as a writer. Other variants – the collaborative gameplay dynasty/AAR, where the writer takes volunteers for different areas of decision-making/strategy choices, or makes the choices a groupthink project, where people vote on which route to take. A classic example of this is Bryan Swartz’s dynasties for different games over the years. The draw with interactive dynasties is that your readers are able to take active part in the game experience with you. Be forewarned, however: While interactive dynasties obviously have the highest rate of reader participation and comments, you need to be organized and absolutely commit to a timetable to keep things moving. Pick your team and set a writing schedule for yourself Okay, so you’ve got your dynasty type in mind. You’ve probably already picked your team, but if you haven’t, go ahead and do that. Now comes the other important part of ensuring you have a long-lasting dynasty/AAR – setting a writing schedule. This can be as loosely defined as “once a day” or “once a week” or as specific as “Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 pm to 9 pm”. But you need to set a schedule, and here’s why: The key to creating a readership and making sure you’ll write is to do so consistently. I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career – teaching, writing, public relations, social media marketing, etc. And the one thing I’ve found is with anything that involves serial writing – whether it’s a dynasty/AAR, a blog, or a social media campaign – is that consistency matters. Stick to the schedule you create and readers will know that, “Hey, it’s 9:30 pm on Tuesday night. Mike Inkwell will have a new post on his Milwaukee Bucks dynasty to go read!” If readership is your goal, I can not stress the importance of consistency enough. It’s one of the ways I’ve been very successful at helping clients and employers break their website and social media traffic metrics. Remember, this is for fun and enjoyment I realize I’m getting heavy into the explanation of theory and craft here, so let me step back a bit and point out that no one is getting paid for their dynasties/AARs (with the exception of streamers who have a large enough subscriber base to rake in advertising and sponsorship dollars). It’s an exercise in fun and writing development – a chance to escape into the world and story you’ve created and share it with fellow game lovers. We’re out of time for today, so next week I’ll conclude this series with a FAQ and/or discussion of common issues that come up in dynasty and AAR writing. If you have something you’d like to see me address in that post, feel free to leave a comment. The post Share Your Dynasty – Part 2 appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  9. Hello Everybody, Since our summer vacation is over we are now ready with the release of version 0.7.3. In this version we have made some improvements for the prestige mode, so it is now possible to se... View the full article
  10. Tim Moungey Wolverine Studios Community Manager I’ve been writing dynasties/after action reports (AARs) about a wide variety of games and even real life for well over a decade now. It was my first foray into writing seriously, and played a major role in my eventually becoming a professional writer with an MFA in Creative Writing. As I was thinking this morning about new topics for the Wolverine Studios blog, I hit upon dynasty writing. It’s a subject that I often see questions about. How do I get started? How do I attract readers? What do you do when you get writer’s block? I’ll be answering all those questions and more in this series. As a writer who gets paid for their work, and as a former academic who taught writing and literature at the university level, I have a lot to say about this subject – too much to cover in a single post. We’ll start off by talking about the most frequent errors that I see beginning writers make. Note: I’ll be focusing primarily on text sports sims, because that’s our product line here at Wolverine. But I may periodically make references to other genres for examples. The Most Common Beginning Writer Mistakes They ask people what they want to see This might sound counterintuitive to you. After all, if you’re trying to attract an audience and build a readership, shouldn’t you do what they’re looking for? Well, no. Although writing for a specific audience and target is important for many types of writing, dynasty/AARs doesn’t fall into that category. The reason why is because dynasties/AARs are a form of creative writing. The writing process involves you, your thoughts and observations, and your imagination – shaped by the events of the game. It’s also a long haul in most cases. So in order to write the best work possible, it needs to be something you want to do – something you’re personally invested and interested in. What happens when you do that is the excitement translates itself into the prose, and readers will naturally get hooked in. Another reason to avoid crowdsourcing your dynasty/AAR: By not focusing on what you want to do, the probability of burnout skyrockets. Everything that you do in life – whether writing, playing video games, or work, eventually hits a level of grind and monotony. I’ll talk more about how to overcome this in a future post, but when you’re not writing for yourself, that plateau hits much more quickly. Side note: This isn’t unique to dynasty/AAR writing. Frequently, I see people wanting to start YouTube or Twitch channels, dreaming of the day when they have a big subscriber base and rank in those advertising and sponsorship dollars. Their focus is on the long-term goal of money, so they start off asking what people want in hopes of building a base quickly. Unfortunately for them, the same rule applies – stream/produce what you love and are interested in, and then the audience will be more likely to follow. They just post the scores/results Now, it’s possible to create a dynasty/AAR that focuses heavily on just scores and stats dumps, but it can’t be the only thing. Even when you’re simply listing the results and stats, you need to add some analysis and/or description to draw the reader in. When you just post the raw data with no discussion or reaction, what happens is that readers will simply skim very quickly. You might get a “Great game” or “Congratulations on the championship” following a notable result, but that’s it. After all, you don’t appear to be very involved in the dynasty, so why should the readers be engaged in interacting? They get burnt out or bored quickly and abandon every project There’s nothing inherently wrong with dropping a dynasty/AAR. We all do it – even me. For every work I’ve produced that’s brought a Mateen Yeaton to the readership’s long-term memory, I probably have about 10 that ended after a few posts. So the quick abandonment in itself isn’t the issue – nor is it doing it frequently. Where the problem comes in is when you do that with every single one. The only way to cultivate a readership and have people invested along with you is to have at least one long-running dynasty/AAR. It’s how you create a fanbase that will follow you around and become a built-in readership for everything you write. Even on Paradox Interactive’s boards, where it’s been literally years since I’ve had a lengthy AAR, I still have a few long-term fans who will pop in whenever I start something new. Imitation might be the best form of flattery, but it makes for terrible writing Have you ever read a dynasty/AAR or a book and gone, “Wow, this person is amazing! I want to write just like them!”? Here’s the problem with being derivative – because you’re a copy, you’re going to pale in comparison to the original, and thus not be as interesting. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by someone or seeing something they do with their formatting that you think would be a great idea to implement in your own dynasty/AAR (I myself was heavily influenced in my early career by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, and Haruki Murakami). But the best writers have their own unique voice and style that they’ve developed over time, and when they do take from someone else, it’s a deliberate homage to, play on, or reference to that prior work/writer. They don’t respond to feedback and comments on the dynasty/AAR Were I to order these in most egregious beginning dynasty/AAR writer sins, this would be second behind asking what other people want. There is no faster way to kill interest in your work and drive off your readership than not engaging with your community. First off, it shows that you don’t care about them. Second, it’s frankly rude. They took the time to not only read what you wrote, but extended the extra effort to comment on it. It’s only polite to reply back. Even a simple, “Thanks!” acknowledges them and makes your readers feel heard. Side note: This rule also applies to any form of social media. Whenever I see a small business fail to respond to comments on Facebook, for example, I literally cringe. For big companies and the B2B sector, it’s understandable. There’s simply too much to respond to in the first case, and in the second, social media is more of a marketing arm than anything else and responses/discussions happen via email or over the phone. But if you’re B2C or a small business, don’t do that to yourself. At least hit the Like react, even if you don’t have time to respond with a comment of your own. That wraps up today’s segment on dynasty/AAR writing. Next time, we’ll look at how to get started and possibly some other areas, depending on how much space we have. The post Share Your Dynasty – Part 1 appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  11. Tim Moungey Wolverine Studios Community Manager One of the most underrated aspects of the gaming world – whether console or PC – are the communities that spring up around a particular product. This is even more so the case in the Internet age, where ease of low-cost digital communication has coincided with the rise of English as the primary global language to make the establishment of and connection between playerbases a simple prospect. So it is that in my decades now of playing text-based sports sims that I’ve found literal lifelong friends – from places like Ireland, England, Spain, Brazil, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Germany, and many more countries too numerous to list here. And of course, all across the continental United States and stretching out to Hawaii and Alaska. Primarily this occurs through multiplayer leagues – many of which run for literal years in real-life terms. And even when a league finally disbands, the creation of new ones finds many of the same people migrating from league to league – or, frequently – participating in multiple MP leagues at the same time. Chats spring up in Facebook Messenger groups or in other conversation mediums such as Slack, where the discussion becomes a mix of the game, the league, and off-topic/real life topics. Over time, this forges friendships – something that can be difficult in our adult years, as numerous research studies have demonstrated. The friendships forged from these leagues can sometimes have far-reaching effects. Just to give one example, when I was looking for another job a few years ago, one of my European friends from a Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball league looped me in to a Creative Writer position at his company – a mobile game developer. I actually made it as far as the final round, where I finished second to someone who already had experience working with that type of development. While I didn’t get the job, it was still an opportunity I never would have had access to otherwise. You might counter that the MP community is small, the bulk of text-sim players are those who play solo. This is true. But even the solo player base creates opportunities for community. See Paradox’s AAR forums, where players write stories about their games, our own Dynasty section, etc. It’s a display of creativity and imagination that draws people in, makes them want to read and stay around. (And in some cases, even purchase games because the story has hooked them in – something I’ve accomplished with more stories than I’ll ever know). Though the MP base is small, and the overall sports text-sim market a niche within the video game industry (save for perhaps Football Manager, which enjoys the advantage of a lengthy history and showcasing the world’s most popular sport), that makes creating community and forging connections all the easier. And in a way, it’s fitting – just as the sports text-sim market is comparatively small, so too are the number of developers. Many of them are independent, solo projects programmed on a part-time basis until they secure a stable enough revenue stream to quit their day job and work on the games full-time. Thus, ask Gary if he knows X or Y text-sim developer and he’ll almost certainly say, “Yes.” This developer community, despite technically being competitors in a business sense, frequently converse with one another, and many have met in real life. So rather than cut-throat as many industries are, there’s a spirit of cooperation and supporting one another – sometimes leading to business partnerships as developers come together under an umbrella. Such is the case with Gary and Brooks and Shaun in the PureSim days (who I hope will make a return to baseball at some point). This developer community also frequently supports and encourages novice developers to grow the industry and bring in fresh talent and voices. Gary, as many of you know, began with .400 Software Studios, with Total Pro Basketball and Total College Basketball as a self-taught developer. Even me, your Community Manager, has dusty design documents from the beginnings of projects lying around (an Olympics-style text-sports sim, a basketball player RPG that would synergize with the Draft Day Sports basketball engine, even a traditional RPG that would be a Wolverine Studios genre first if it ever came to fruition). But it isn’t just on the development side that sports text sims benefit from community. Professional licensing is expensive – a cost far beyond the reach of most independent developers. For legal reasons, team names and logos are fictionalized by default. With a modding community, who willingly volunteer their time, energy, and skill, real-world databases are created. These user mods greatly assist in the immersion factor of the game for players, who are used to the real world and sometimes don’t desire to immerse themselves in a fictional universe. Finally, and this is one of the most recent developments in the sports text sim community, are streams and shares of video gameplay. Historically, game streaming has been the province of action-oriented games – leading to the rise of esports leagues (now considered a professional sport by many people). Text-based sports simulations typically haven’t received the streaming treatment. But that’s changing. We’re seeing more and more players streaming and creating “Let’s Play” video dynasties, and they’re attracting attention. We’ve even started doing this ourselves by way of creating streaming developer diaries in the last week or so. They’ve been favorably received, giving us another avenue and opportunity to communicate directly with our players and gain their feedback on things such as proposed changes and feature wishlists. It’s a much more immediate, intimate experience that allows for faster compilation of player opinions, rather than just the old way of re-reading the forums and emails and compiling data that way (Note: We still use those methods, too. It allows us a more complete picture of what players want and think). As you can see, the community involved in the sports text sim world, smaller than other genres though it may be, is not a single, monolithic entity. Rather, it’s a broad, literally globally-spanning phenomenon that involves numerous strands. Whether it’s the multiplayer leagues, the solo player dynasties, the tight-knight developer and modding groups, or the newly arrived streams, there’s plenty of ways to get involved in the rich, vibrant community of our genre. To take your first steps, why not visit our forums or download one of our free demos? The post The Global Community of Text-Based Sports Sims appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  12. This past Tuesday we took to our live Twitch stream to talk trading in DDS: Pro Basketball 2021. If you missed the live stream (currently every Tuesday night at 7:30 PM EST) you can catch a recap on our Twitch channel (while available) or our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to follow us on both of our channels and make sure you have notifications enabled for going live or new content. If you can we also appreciated subscriptions to our Twitch channel – don’t forget if you have Amazon Prime you can get Twitch Prime for free and with that you get one free channel sub – we would love it if you used it on us! We devoted this entire 30 minute episode to talking about trading – new features and enhancements that have so far made their way into the game some of them which were community ideas from people in our first stream. Here’s a quick list of the things highlighted in the video – be sure to check it out for the full detail! New Trading Features Team Needs – now you see where trading partners have the biggest needsTeam Plan – get a text description of what a team’s building mindset is so that you better know who is rebuilding vs contending and how that might change their trade plansYears left on contract shown on the default view as well as full contract data still available as a viewing optionGet offer – Button allows you to place a player in the trade and immediately get an offer or response to that player from another teamTrading Enhancements Teams do a much better job evaluating where their team currently stands vs the season they came off of (ie a championship team who loses its star player will account for that now at the start of a new season)The AI is MUCH more protective about valuing future first round picks and is able to differentiate much better the idea of what their next pick should be worth based on their current roster versus what could happen in the future and the value that pick could haveAlong those lines the AI is also going to be much more aware of the value of a future pick versus the value of a pick mid-draftThe AI will also more properly value offers where a human manager is trying to use multiple second round picks to trade withAre there more enhancements you want to see from the trade engine? Feel free to leave a comment below and be sure to join us for our developer dynasty live streams so that your voice can be heard for new features! The post DDS: Pro Basketball 21 Developer Dynasty #2 Recap appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article
  13. Tim Moungey Wolverine Studios Community Manager It seems like every year, console sports games get more and more visually stunning – the advancements in graphical technology bringing us ever closer to a photorealistic representation of the sports we all know and love. And that’s a good thing from an immersion standpoint. Where they continually lag behind, however, is their ability to create a world that comes close to reflecting reality in the game’s statistics. Every year, the same question comes up: “What’s the best sliders set for as realistic a game as possible?” “How do the stats look?” And even when you finally find that perfect set of sliders for your skill level and that edition’s engine quirks, you’re still left with a shadow of realism. A game it is – an accurate simulation it is not. Which is where the beauty of text-based sports simulations come into play. Freed from the need to adjust to the skill level and time pressures of the player (how many of us actually complete more than a handful of seasons per year of say, Madden?), the game can concentrate on modeling and simulating accuracy and realism of modern-day sports in precise, pristine detail. The statistics are in line with how our sports leagues play, without the need for fiddly sliders and adjustments, and at a much greater degree of accuracy than even the best set. And because games can be simulated much more quickly, seasons can be run at a faster pace. But it’s more than just statistical accuracy. Think of the trade AI. In console sports games, it’s not too difficult to turn a collection of scrubs into a player of value through sheer quantity that overwhelms a weakly-written trade evaluation routine. In sports sims, that’s not the case. How many times, for example, have you gotten “We’re miles apart” or, my own personal most-hated, “You’ve got to come close to matching the best part of our side if you want to make a deal.” The trade AI in text-based sports simulations is far more brutal – much more like a human GM (though occasionally, like real life, you might find a specific AI GM who makes dumb deals. But that’s only rarely, rather than the entire league like the Maddens and NBA 2Ks of the world). Another aspect where sports simulations create a deeper, more immersive world is player personalities. In console sports games, player personalities are limited – if present at all – and don’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things. This makes sense – we have the visual representation of the player on the field, which allows us to easily identify him, allowing our brains to readily construct who he is. Sports simulations – even those with a 3D match engine like Football Manager – do not have that luxury, because they’re often programmed by smaller teams who don’t have the manpower to create such a resource-heavy representation. Instead, they used specific player traits and demands to create as fully realized an entity as possible. This leads to things like your superstar quarterback who only cares about money and could leave for another team if you don’t get your cap situation straightened out to offer him the big bucks. Oh, and he got into a locker room fight with your #1 WR, so now you have to decide who is more valuable – the QB or the WR – and then figure out a solution that keeps your team in the title hunt. It’s through this leaning on player personality traits that help create an identity for your players in a text sports simulation – without the crutch of the on-field/on-court graphical depiction. Coaches are another area that get more attention in sports simulations. Console coaches? They’re primarily just names and systems. Beyond that, they don’t matter. In sports simulations, they’re often rated in multiple categories – how good are they at identifying talent, for example? How well can they develop the skills of your players? Are they easy-going or abrasive in their personalities? All of these items become factors in how successful (or not) your team is – above and beyond whether their preferred systems and schemes match your roster. Finances and managing the salary cap/budget? In console sports games, they’re again given the surface treatment. In sports simulations, they’re again given greater depth and importance. The owner will only allow you to spend so much or you’ll get fired. Want to recruit that blue-chip 5 star prospect clear across the country? Better check your budget to make sure that you can afford it and that if you miss, you won’t be stuck with walk-ons because you have nothing left. And because sports simulations rely so much on creating as authentic a representation of their chosen sport as possible, they’ll incorporate more of the professional league’s CBA rules (though not all of them – at a certain point, one has to balance fun vs depth in the experience. Implementing every aspect of the NBA’s CBA, for example, would require you to become a capologist, as the league’s franchises often literally hire as a separate position). The final realism advantage of text-based sports sims is in the actual gameplay itself. No doubt we’ve seen those situations in console games where, for example, someone takes the Golden State Warriors and their opponent takes the New York Knicks, and the Knicks player wins because of their exceptional hand-eye coordination and knowledge of the engine’s exploits – such as money/cheat plays like the Madden gamer who won a tournament by having his punter at QB and running every play. Unlike console sports games, in which physical ability plays a major role in a player’s success, your success is based on your team-building skills and strategies. You can have the most talented players and still lose – not because of slowness in button-mashing or failure to exploit the game – but because the players’ skill-sets don’t mesh well together (such as a team of talented, ball-dominant scorers with no one to play the role of shutdown defender). It produces far more realistic statistics and results. For all of these reasons, if you’re seeking the most realistic, authentic sports experience possible, look at text-based sports simulations. We offer them in a number of sports, and you can download demos of any of them for free here. The post Text-Based Sports Simulations: Your Gaming Gateway to Replicating Reality appeared first on Wolverine Studios. View the full article